The Curmudgeon is on a Boys’ Weekend.
The occasion? A friend’s 60th birthday. The friend wanted to celebrate the old-fashioned way: with a long weekend on Martha’s Vineyard filled with socializing and merriment. I’m celebrating my 60th birthday this year, but there are no wild and crazy weekends in my future. At least none that I know about.
The boys traveled by boat from Milford, CT., and are staying at the Mad Max Marina in Edgartown Harbor for three days while I hold down the fort. I’m looking forward to yard work and binge-watching TV, but mostly not having to explain myself to anyone.
I can do what I want, when I want, without justifying it. I can order Chinese food or make crab sauce without any complaints. I can do my own thing, whatever that means. After 34 years of marriage and 20 years of motherhood, you almost forget how to act independently because you’re always accommodating someone.
As part of a couple, you must account for your whereabouts and your time. You’re continually thinking about when you will get a chance to do things together, like walk the dog or eat dinner. There’s an apportioning of time for your spouse, even if you don’t do any of it because other things come up.
But when the occasional Boys’ Weekend crops up, you’re suddenly footloose and fancy free, not having to account for your whereabouts, check in, make sure, double check or just check before you do something. What a concept.
When you’re married, you can’t just jump in the car and take off without saying where you’re going. I tried this a few years ago, and it didn’t go over well. I was admonished for being selfish and weird. No one who’s married does this. Or maybe there are people who do, but they’re not going to be married for very long.
Marriage is about give and take, but mostly answering to another adult. It’s about having someone say, “This place is a mess” and knowing it’s your job to clean it. It’s about having someone say, “Would you mind putting a roll of toilet paper in the master bathroom?” and not snapping, “Well, you could do that too. Why is that my job?” It’s about having someone tell you to water the plants and saying, “I’ll do it when I feel like it.”
It’s about biting your tongue when you really don’t feel like it, and sounding off when you just can’t help yourself and knowing you will be forgiven. One of the things I enjoy most about marriage is complete honesty with my spouse, of not having to couch my words. My mother will laugh when she reads this. The last time I wrote something like this, she said, “When have you ever couched your words with anyone?”
True, I do speak my mind, but at least people know where they stand. The Curmudgeon is used to it. I can say, “I hate that sweater. Never wear it again,” or “Wipe your mouth. You have stuff on your chin. No, it’s still there,” and know it’s OK. I can urge him to hurry up, chill out, help more or butt out and know that he won’t take offense. Well, most of the time.
The Curmudgeon and I are both independent, and usually only talk if something comes up. He doesn’t call me in the middle of the day to whisper sweet nothings or tell me how much he loves me. He calls to warn me about speed traps in our neighborhood. He’s also good about telling me when he’s stopping at Walmart, though half the time when I call or text him back he doesn’t pick up or get the message.
He’s a man of few words, texting only that the boat arrived and was safely docked at Mad Max in Edgartown Harbor at 9:30 p.m. Friday. That is the last I heard from him. And though I don’t begrudge him having fun with the guys, I expected a quick text or phone call, just to check in. When I awakened this morning and still hadn’t heard from him, I sent him a one word text: “Thanks.”
He knew exactly what I meant, texting me back that it was hard to send group messages and he’s looking forward to coming home. Sure. I bet he can’t wait to get back to dry land, work, responsibilities and the old ball and chain.
I’m not sure why guys feel so entitled to Boys’ Weekends, but they do. They delight in them, often posting photos on Facebook and Instagram to rub it in everyone’s face: I’m off doing fun stuff with my buddies while you’re home being a responsible adult. Yes, we get it. You’re away having the time of your life and we’re home stoking the home fires. Bully for you.
But it’s not so easy for women to escape. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been away for a Girls’ Weekend. I think about it, but it’s complicated. My friends have husbands and children whose schedules must be considered. And unlike men, women can’t just pick up and leave. Getting away for a Girls’ Weekend requires planning, begging, cajoling and convincing. Most of these trips are scuttled before they even get to the planning stages.
So I’ll indulge in the flip side of the Boys’ Weekend – being alone, except for the kids – for 72 hours. I’ll do what I want, when I want. Well, not so fast. It’s my daughter’s birthday weekend, so there’s the cake, the birthday meal, cleaning the house for a small party and buying presents.
And my plans of having the house to myself were dashed when my son asked if he and five of his closest friends could hang out on Saturday night. So much for alone time.
So maybe a Girls’ Weekend is in my future. A girl can dream, can’t she?